Cash5pm ThinkTankCentral: Economic activity in the shadows – why it happens and how it might be prevented

1.30pm ToryDiary: If the Tory leadership wants to restore trust in politics, they should avoid playing politics over the unions

12.45pm ToryDiary: Voters have good reason not to believe politicians and their statistics

11.45 On Comment, the second part of Paul Maynard MP's two-part guide to winning in the North: Spreading our support

ToryDiary: Get ready to register yourself as a lobbyist. Or risk a fine. Or prison. Or maybe both.

Cutting it

Our series on government spending continues on ThinkTankCentral, where Sean Worth writes: This month's Spending Review must pave the way for victory in 2015

Emre Özdermir writes this week's Foreign Policy column: Turkish protests are a demand for respect

JP Floru on Comment: Frack, baby, frack! Away with the statism that stops drilling and prosperity

Cllr Philippa Roe on Local Government: The Government must go much further on public service reform

The Deep End: Britain: a nation of millionaires!

David Cameron wants to stop the "conveyor belt" that's yielding Islamists in Britain…

Cameron"David Cameron yesterday vowed to ‘drain the swamp’ that has produced a ‘conveyor belt’ of violent Islamic extremists in Britain. … Mr Cameron was delivering a Commons statement on fresh measures to crack down on extremism in the aftermath of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby. … Most significantly, he insisted the main political parties must come to an agreement on what should be done about the Communications Data Bill." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: David Cameron: "We should do all we can to tackle the poisonous ideology that is perverting young minds"

…is pressed to seek a Commons vote on Syria…

"David Cameron came under strong pressure from Conservative and Labour MPs on Monday to promise there will be a formal vote in the House of Commons before any decision to transfer arms to moderate rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. … Amid signs that the government’s Syria policy is set to become a more contentious political issue, the prime minister faced hostile questioning from MPs across the political divide who fear arming rebels will inflame the civil war." – Financial Times

…aims to tackle all those lobbyists, too…

Handshake"Eighty lobbyists were suspended from the Palace of Westminster last night in a dramatic attempt to end the latest sleaze scandal. … At the same time, Downing Street announced that legislation for a statutory register of lobbyists would be rushed out next month. The new law will also strike directly at the ability of the trade unions to ramp up Labour's campaign machine in the run-up to the general election." – Daily Mail

"Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, today promised that the Government will pass a law to create a legal register of lobbyists. … But Mr Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, questioned how much impact the measure would have, and even suggested it might make it easier for politicians to detect undercover journalists’ investigations." – Daily Telegraph

  • "It’s not a register we need to keep politics honest. It’s a free press" – John Rentoul, Independent

> Today on ToryDiary: Get ready to register yourself as a lobbyist. Or risk a fine. Or prison. Or maybe both.

> Yesterday, by Marina Kim: Why we need a statutory register of lobbyists now

…as another scandal surfaces

"A Tory MP and his wife were yesterday sensationally accused of groping their lesbian housekeeper as they proposed a threesome. … The couple, known as Mr and Mrs P, molested their middle-aged employee and tried to perform a sex act on her, an employment tribunal heard." – The Sun

Good news for George Osborne: more signs of recovery 

Upturn"The British economy took another step on the road to recovery yesterday after manufacturers clocked up their best performance for more than a year. … A separate report published today shows price cuts and a rise in internet shopping helped retailers post a strong increase of 3.4 per cent in sales last month." – Daily Mail

  • Although… "Small businesses are being ‘left out in the cold’ nearly a year after the Government launched an emergency cash lifeline to rescue them, official figures revealed yesterday." – Daily Mail

But is Mr Osborne a thing of the past?

"Where George Osborne once reigned supreme, it is Mr Gove who is increasingly looked to by his colleagues as the party’s playmaker. The balance of power within the Conservative leadership has begun to tilt his way." – Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

  • George Osborne (and Ed Balls) will attend the Bilderberg Conference – Daily Mail

Michael Gove poised to replace GCSEs


"GCSEs are to be replaced by new “I levels” with a grading system between 1 and 8 in the most fundamental reforms to qualifications at 16 for a generation. … Coursework will disappear from formal assessment in all core exams other than science, for which teachers will allocate 10 per cent of marks for practical experiments. … Opportunities to re-sit new qualifications will be severely curtailed…" - The Times (£)

Government-commissioned review to say: Whitehall needs to be more businesslike

"In a report to be published on Thursday, assessing the role of non-executive directors – a group of private sector figures who sit on the boards of departments – Lord Browne, former chief executive of BP, is to argue that Whitehall still lacks rigorous financial management." – Financial Times

  • "A more businesslike government would do wonders for Britain" – George Freeman, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Damian Green is set to challenge his party's eurosceptics

DG"A leading member of the 'one nation' wing of the Conservative party will challenge a series of cabinet ministers who said recently that they would vote to leave the European Union if a vote were held now. … Damian Green, the policing minister, will say there is a "hard-headed Conservative case" for Britain's membership of the EU, which needs to be heard." – Guardian

But Tory MPs demand a tougher stance against benefit tourism

"…a new report by the Fresh Start Group, which contains prominent Tory MPs from the 2010 intake, warned that a series of EU directives must be renegotiated to enable Britain to put even toughter safeguards in place." – The Times (£)

Tim Yeo keeps on making the case for decarbonisation, ahead of today's Energy Bill vote

CO2"Decarbonising our power sector is – after greater energy efficiency – the most cost-effective way of achieving our carbon reduction goals. Other sectors such as transport will rely heavily on a clean electricity supply to reduce emissions using electric cars and high-speed rail. Failure to decarbonise the electricity sector now could mean that we are forced to take more costly action to constrain emissions in future." – Tim Yeo, Guardian

  • "Mr Davey’s new Energy Bill is part of an effort to 'progressively decarbonise' our energy sector and economy. That appears to mean sky-high bills, vast subsidies for wind farms and potentially fatal energy costs for manufacturers." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "There are green vested interests too, Mr Davey" – Dominic Lawson, Independent

"It’s a bit like your femininity is going down the shower…" Nadine Dorries speaks out about hair lossDaily Mail

Now Mike Hancock quits his party without quitting his seat

"Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock has quit his party last night over allegations of sexual assault. … The Portsmouth South MP – who strongly denies the claims – has refused to stand down from Parliament, however. … He has vowed to clear his name in a High Court civil case against him made by a female constituent." – Daily Mail

Balls's Big Speech comes under heavy scrutiny

Balls"Mr Balls's words came as a poll showed just 30 per cent of voters think Labour can be trusted with the economy. … Tory Treasury Minister Sajid Javid said: 'Ed Balls is incapable of admitting that Labour spent and borrowed too much in government.' … Meanwhile, Mr Balls faced a backlash from the Labour Left after tearing up the principle of universal benefits for the elderly." – Daily Mail

"Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was under fire last night after he unveiled a list of spending 'cuts' which would barely make a dent in Britain’s soaring debts." – The Sun

  • Sun"At long last Ed Balls has dipped his little toe into the waters of reality. Sadly that’s as far as he’s got." – Sun editorial
  • "Labour has a formidable task. It must find itself room for fiscal manoeuvre while proving it can be trusted with the purse strings. Yesterday’s speech from the shadow Chancellor made a start…" – Independent editorial
  • "On Monday, Mr Balls faced the tough task of flashing a little cold steel, without amputating any progressive principles, and he more or less pulled that off." – Guardian editorial
  • "When it comes to the need to save further, the Tories now have scope to make their case – for to match them, Mr Balls will have to repudiate not just his party orthodoxy, but his life’s work." – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "The new strategy may be more realistic. But it will be a hard sell – especially with Mr Balls as its prime salesman – without smelling of capitulation." – Financial Times editorial
  • "Labour has spent three years denying the obvious, so its conversion demonstrates that the opposition suddenly believes it might win the election in 2015 and needs a responsible programme for government." – Chris Giles, Financial Times
  • "British politics catches up with the age of austerity" – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • "Balls uses the 'd-word'. But it's just a first step" – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • "Labour finally gets it. After the years of deflection and denial, Ed Miliband and his shadow chancellor recognise the truth." – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Balls's winter fuel gambit – Strategically flawed, tactically risky – and, in policy terms, absolutely right

Ed Miliband urged: back an EU referendum! 

"A new Labour for a Referendum campaign will warn Mr Miliband that he needs to back a vote if he wants to win the next election. … The campaign — launched today — is backed by ex-Labour ministers Keith Vaz and Lord Gilbert, dozens of councillors and One Foot in the Grave TV star Richard Wilson." – The Sun

> Yesterday, Grant Shapps's latest column: We're getting the big decisions right – and Miliband has nothing to offer

Archbishop of Canterbury: I won't vote for gay marriage, as it stands

Justin Welby"The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned David Cameron’s push for gay marriage will diminish the institution and weaken the family. … In his first major intervention on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he could not support the legislation ‘as it stands’. … Despite their vocal opposition, bishops are set to abstain from a crunch vote on gay marriage in the House of Lords tonight." – Daily Mail

"Peers from all parties have warned the House of Lords it would exceed its powers if it derailed plans to legalise gay marriage because the move has already won the overwhelming backing of MPs." – Independent

  • "Regardless of whether David Cameron has made the case for same-sex unions – which, frankly, he hasn’t – this is a deeply divisive policy for which he has no electoral mandate." – Daily Mail editorial

Farmers versus MPs

"Families should stop eating meat on a daily basis, MPs warn today. … They said the global surge in meat and cheese consumption was unsustainable, with the UK 'never more than a few days from a significant food shortage'. … The report was branded 'naive, dangerous and bitterly disappointing' by farming unions." – Daily Mail

A stretched NHS

  • "Waiting times for A&E patients are at their highest point for nearly a decade, a report has warned." – Daily Mail
  • "Police officers could be brought in to help alleviate a chronic nurse shortage amid proposals being presented to a Scottish health board." – Daily Mail

There's shale gas all around

Shale gas

"A fracking company has announced that more than ten times as much gas lies under the North West of England than previously believed – and it could make the UK self-sufficient for at least 15 years. .. The exploratory energy company IGas has carried out technical studies which suggest the quantity of shale gas in parts of the UK have been vastly underestimated." – Daily Mail

> Today, by JP Floru on Comment: Frack, baby, frack! Away with the statism that stops drilling and prosperity

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Shale gas becomes an even more compelling opportunity – we must seize it 

News in brief

  • Families will be £1,800 a year worse off in 2015 than they were before the crash, says Institute for Fiscal Studies – Daily Mail
  • Charity Commission attacked for granting charitable status to what was actually a "huge tax avoidance scam" – Daily Mail
  • Germany wants to entice young, able Brits into apprenticeships – Daily Mail
  • Britain's black market is now worth more than £150 billion – The Sun
  • Badger vaccination would be cheaper than a cull, claims new analysis – Guardian


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